Man released from hospital following pensioner assault

The old radar station at Fraser Range, Eastney Picture: Shaun Roster

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A MAN who was sent to a secure hospital after punching an 87-year-old woman in the face when he broke into her home has been released.

Clive Franks was found unfit to stand trial at Portsmouth Crown Court when he was accused of sexual assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm against the Havant pensioner.

It meant a jury was asked to decide if he had ‘done the act’ making up the respective criminal charges.

In June last year the jury found he did not do the sexual assault acts, but did do the acts for the actual bodily harm.

After the court heard he had paranoid schizophrenia the 45-year-old was sentenced to a hospital order with a restriction, meaning he could only be released on authority of the Secretary of State.

In what the judge called ‘unusual circumstances’ Franks was last month brought back to court as he had completely recovered.

Franks, formerly of Ravenswood House Hospital in Fareham, then pleaded guilty to the ABH assault.

The court heard it was not possible for the Crown Prosecution Service to pursue the sexual assault charge again.

Sentencing, judge Roger Hetherington handed Franks a 12-month conditional discharge.

He said Franks had spent around six months on remand ahead of being found unfit to plead last year.

The judge said: ‘You were plainly mentally unwell when you went into the house of an elderly lady on November 14, 2014, grabbed her, pushed her to the floor and punched her causing cuts and bruises.’

Franks, who asked in court to be referred to as Richard Curry, was handed a restraining order.

He is banned for life from entering Havant and from contacting the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The trial last year heard the victim suffered bruising above her left eye, a cut to her nose, bruising to her upper arms, and cuts from shattered glass to her lower left arm, legs, back and feet. The victim fought back by kicking back in the terrifying early-hours ordeal.

Jurors were told during the brief trial he told police officers at interview he had been homeless for 15 months and youths set fire to the tent he was living in.

He told police: ‘I know it’s not fair for the woman. It seems to me you have to commit crime these days just to get any help.’